MMA Top 10 Rankings: Phil Davis Finally Breaks Through
The updated MMAWeekly.com World MMA Rankings were released on Wednesday, March 30. This system ranks the Top 10 MMA fighters from all across the world in each of the seven most widely accepted weight classes.
Taken into consideration are a fighter’s performance in addition to win-loss record, head-to-head and common opponents, difficulty of opponents, and numerous other factors in what is the most comprehensive rankings system in the sport.
Fighters who are currently serving drug-related suspensions are not eligible for Top 10 consideration until they have fought one time after the completion of their suspension.
Fighters must also have competed within the past 12 months in order to be eligible for Top 10 consideration unless they have a bout scheduled within a reasonable time frame.
Below are the current MMAWeekly.com World MMA Rankings:
HEAVYWEIGHT DIVISION (over 205 pounds)
1. Cain Velasquez
2. Fabricio Werdum
3. Brock Lesnar
4. Junior Dos Santos
5. Alistair Overeem
6. Antonio Silva
7. Fedor Emelianenko
8. Shane Carwin
9. Frank Mir
10. Sergei Kharitonov
LIGHT HEAVYWEIGHT DIVISION (205-pound limit)
1. Jon Jones
2. Mauricio “Shogun” Rua
3. Rashad Evans
4. Quinton Jackson
5. Lyoto Machida
6. Forrest Griffin
7. Thiago Silva
8. Ryan Bader
9. Dan Henderson
10. Phil Davis
MIDDLEWEIGHT DIVISION (185-pound limit)
1. Anderson Silva
2. Yushin Okami
3. Nathan Marquardt
4. Demian Maia
5. Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza
6. Jorge Santiago
7. Michael Bisping
8. Robbie Lawler
9. Hector Lombard
10. Vitor Belfort
WELTERWEIGHT DIVISION (170-pound limit)
1. Georges St-Pierre
2. Jon Fitch
3. Jake Shields
4. Thiago Alves
5. Josh Koscheck
6. Nick Diaz
7. Paul Daley
8. Carlos Condit
9. B.J. Penn
10. Diego Sanchez
LIGHTWEIGHT DIVISION (160-pound limit)
1. Frankie Edgar
2. Gilbert Melendez
3. Gray Maynard
4. Shinya Aoki
5. Eddie Alvarez
6. Jim Miller
7. Tatsuya Kawajiri
8. Kenny Florian
9. Anthony Pettis
10. Melvin Guillard
FEATHERWEIGHT DIVISION (145 pound-limit)
1. Jose Aldo
2. Chad Mendes
3. Manny Gamburyan
4. Diego Nunes
5. Hatsu Hioki
6. Dustin Poirier
7. Mark Hominick
8. Erik Koch
9. Michihiro Omigawa
10. Josh Grispi
BANTAMWEIGHT DIVISION (135 pounds or less)
1. Dominick Cruz
2. Brian Bowles
3. Joseph Benavidez
4. Scott Jorgensen
5. Urijah Faber
6. Miguel Torres
7. Brad Pickett
8. Demetrious Johnson
9. Masakatsu Ueda
10. Michael McDonald
Strikeforce Challengers: Josh Thornburg Wants To Stay This Time
While Justin Wilcox and Rodrigo Damm may be headlining Friday’s Strikeforce Challengers 15 in Stockton, Calif., the fighter who may have the most to gain from the evening’s festivities is up-and-coming Cesar Gracie prospect Josh Thornburg.
A replacement for an injured Conor Huen, Thornburg is eager to return to Strikeforce after suffering the second loss of his career just a few weeks ago to Roger Bowling.
“After the (Bowling) fight I was pretty disappointed in my performance, so I just let (Strikeforce) know that I was looking to get back in there as soon as possible,” Thornburg told MMAWeekly.com. “And then when (Huen dropped out) I was one the first calls.
“For me, a fast turnaround isn’t a problem. I’ve fought back-to-back months a few times, so it doesn’t really bother me. I think it’s a little bit of an advantage to step back in right away. It cuts down on some of the anxiety and everything.”
Thornburg admits in his loss to Bowling, he wasn’t himself and made a series of mistakes he normally wouldn’t have.
“I think I was a little reserved,” he admitted. “Part of it, I feel, is a little bit nerves, but I guess I just didn’t fight well.
“When I was on my back, I didn’t attempt as many submissions as I normally do; I normally finish fights with submissions. I didn’t really try a lot besides the guillotine. I’m disappointed in that. I held my hands a little bit lower than I usually do in the stand-up and didn’t let my hands go a lot.”
Thornburg will get an opportunity to redeem himself against Cung Le student James Terry, who is coming off two straight victories over Team Cesar Gracie fighters.
“I’ve got to go out there and win because I don’t want to lose two fights in a row, that’s the biggest thing in my head,” said Thornburg. “If I beat him and avenge the loss of a couple of my teammates, that’s great too.”
When asked if he feels he has an advantage working with teammates who have faced Terry recently, Thornburg replied, “A little bit.
“I got to watch both fights he fought my teammates, he’s more of a pace fighter and doesn’t finish fights, so I’ve got a pretty good feel about what he’s going to do. I don’t sit back a lot, but I am composed. He likes to bounce in and out a lot and that’s going to play into my style.”
Having trained with top fighters such as the Diaz brothers, Gilbert Melendez, and Jake Shields, Thornburg feels he’s been pushed to become a better fighter, and it will show on Friday night.
“I think the biggest thing that’s come across to me has been the cardio these guys have,” he commented. “When I came down I thought I was in great shape, but Nick, Nate, and Jake, all these guys have great cardio.
“That’s really stuck out to me as far as that never quit attitude. I thought I had a never quit attitude, but you definitely learn.”
Having achieved his initial goal of fighting in a major promotion, Thornburg’s next step is establishing himself as someone to watch in Strikeforce.
“I want to thank Vexillum, Butcher Gear, Family Chevron, E Rod, and Cesar Gracie,” he closed out. “Everybody who wants to come out, come out, I know I’m going to put on a great fight.
“I want to establish myself as one of the better fighters. I’d like my name to be up there with (my teammates) one day.”
Training Updates: Fedor Heads to Holland to Train with Ernesto Hoost and Chael Sonnen Adds Some Swagger to the 209 Where He’s Helping Jake Shields Prepare for GSP
Jake Shields mentioned in an interview he did with Joe Rogan during Saturday’s Ultimate Fight Night 24 broadcast that he was planning on bringing in Chael Sonnen to help him prepare for his April 30 UFC 129 match-up with UFC welterweight champ Georges St-Pierre.
According to MiddleEasy, he wasn’t just blowing smoke up our asses as the beleaguered UFC middleweight contender has offically arrived in the 209 with his Team Quest mate Matt Lindland in tow to help Shields prepare for GSP.
Here’s the photo of the unlikely pairing of the fighting Republicans and the Skrap Pack:
In other news, former PRIDE heavyweight champ Fedor Emelianenko has made good on his promise that he would shake up his training by traveling to the Netherlands to prepare for his next bout. “The Last Emperor” is spending the next two weeks at Ernesto Hoost’s Dutch kickboxing gym.
Here is some footage of Fedor training with Mr. Perfect in the land of tulips and wooden shoes.
This isn’t Fedor’s first training trip to Holland. Check out this vid of the once-thought invincible Russian training a few years back with Alistair Overeem and Gilbert Yvel at Team Golden Glory.
Watch Out, MMA Drug-Cheats: The NSAC Vows to Look Closer at Your Junk
You know, when I woke up this morning, I never expected to read a news story involving Kevin Randleman‘s possibly-fake penis. But unfortunately, I did — and since I can’t get that horrible image out of my head, you’re going to have to hear about it too. Here’s Nevada State Athletic Commission Executive Director Keith Kizer talking to MMAJunkie about the infamous Randleman-at-PRIDE 32 situation, which was the last time that his commission’s testing body has been burned by fake urine:
Kizer said Randleman’s deception began with the collection of his sample.
“What he did was he grabbed the inner-thigh of his shorts, kind of pulled it open, stuck out what we thought was the tip of his penis – it was the same color as the rest of his skin – and then urinated in the cup and gave it to our inspector,” he said…
(Ed. note: See, for me, that “same color as the rest of his skin” bit would be a dead giveaway. Everybody knows that wiener-skin is a shade darker than the rest of the guy it’s attached to. Come on, where were these NSAC guys licensed, anyway? Moving on…)
According to Kizer, Randleman provided a sample that was consistent with human urine when tested for the presence of drugs of abuse, such as cocaine and marijuana. However, tests for performance-enhancing drugs – which measure such things as a person’s testosterone-to-epitestosterone ratio, or T/E ratio – revealed the sample to be fake.
Kizer said there are similarities in Silva’s case.
“Here, it’s pretty much zero,” he said. “So it’s like, ‘Wait a second. He has pretty much at an undetectable level of testosterone?’ That’s just not consistent with a human being.
“So I think with Randleman and allegedly with Silva, had we given them (just) a drug test, they might have passed it. But we gave them a steroid test, and you can’t pass that with fake urine.”
Following the Randleman case, the NSAC instructed its inspectors to visually confirm that a fighter is urinating in a sample cup either before or after a fight. It’s a step that ideally would deter the use of third-party urine, masking agents, and even fake penises/urine samples (such as the infamous “Whizzinator” device).
But of course, even those extra measures might not be enough, as Thiago Silva (ALLEGEDLY!) proved at UFC 125. As Kizer said, “I we think might have to take it a step further…It might be a situation where inspectors have to go really close and look.”
Ugh. I get pee-shy when there’s another dude two urinals away from me. Imagine trying to piss when Keith Kizar’s face is mere inches away from your crotch. And once again, one bad apple spoils it for everybody else, forever. (See also: Airport security.) Hope you’re happy, Thiago.
Thiago Silva admits use of "urine adulterant"
UFC light heavyweight contender Thiago Silva (15-2 MMA, 6-2 UFC) was wrong, and he admits it.
In an era in which professional athletes have gone so far as to lie under oath in regard to their use of performance-enhancing substances, Silva is taking the exact opposite approach.
In a statement delivered to MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com), Silva admits he cheated for his UFC 125 matchup with Brandon Vera, and he'll accept whatever punishment the Nevada State Athletic Commission recommends. After that, the Brazilian said he'll come back a changed man.
"We make decisions every day of our lives," Silva stated. "Some are good, and some are bad. When you make a bad decision, you can either make the situation worse by trying to cover it up or lie about it, or just stick your head in the sand and refuse to acknowledge it even happened. Or you can own up to it with an honest explanation, accept the consequences of your actions, apologize to the people affected by it, learn from it and move on. I'm choosing the second option.
"I used a urine adulterant when giving a sample following my fight with Brandon Vera. I did so in an attempt to alter the results of the test and knowingly broke the rules of the Nevada (State) Athletic Commission. This was a terrible decision on my part for which I will be punished. I am prepared to accept this punishment, learn from it and move on. I apologize to the commission, the UFC, Brandon Vera and the MMA fans."
Keith Kizer: NSAC may have to take drug testing procedures a step further
It won't be pretty, but changes soon may be in store for the Nevada State Athletic Commission's drug-testing protocols.
Shortly after the discovery of an allegedly bogus urine sample submitted by UFC 125 competitor Thiago Silva, NSAC Executive Director Keith Kizer informed his commission inspectors that they might have to, well, take a closer look in the locker room.
If allegations against Silva prove true, Kizer said, the adjustments made following the NSAC's first case of sample tampering – which came in 2006 – may need to be revised again.
Bellator 38 ratings dip again, event averages 150,000 MTV2 viewers
Bellator ratings dipped for a second week, and this past weekend's Bellator 38 event drew a season-low 150,000 viewers on MTV2.
MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) today confirmed the ratings information with an event source.
The March 26 event, which took place at Harrah's Tunica Hotel and Casino in Tunica Resorts, Miss., aired at a special start time of 7 p.m. ET/PT to avoid overlapping with Spike TV's broadcast of UFC Fight Night 24.
UFC Fight Night 24 averages 2.2 Million viewers on Spike TV wins key demos
This past weekend's UFC Fight Night 24 event drew an average audience of 2.2 million viewers (1.5 household rating) and peaked with 2.4 million for a co-headliner between welterweights Anthony Johnson and Dan Hardy.
Spike TV officials today announced the figures.
The March 26 broadcast was the most watched program on cable for the entire day among men 18-34 and men 18-49.
Michael Bisping Calls Out Chael Sonnen, Slams Nate Marquardt
Chael Sonnen called out Michael "Spitsbing" after UFC 127 and Bisping has returned the favor. Michael Bisping [Num. 9] talks Chael Sonnen and Nate Marquardt on The MMA Hour with Ariel Helwani: (video)
"I want to fight Chael Sonnen [Num. 2] - he is without a doubt the guy that I want to fight next. I want to fight Chael Sonnen because he's an amazing fighter. When he fought last, he looked fantastic, and I want to challenge myself."
"He's the number two ranked middleweight in the world. Obviously I can't fight number one (Anderson Silva) because I’ve got to earn a title shot, so I want to fight the number two guy to do that."
"Regarding Nate Marquardt [Num. 4], he has been talking a lot of trash about me recently. That guy, he's quite a hypocrite. He's a steroid cheat, let's not forget that. He's had points taken away for illegally kneeing people himself, and then he goes out talking about me as if I'm Satan or something. The guy's an absolute hypocrite."
NSAC: Thiago Silva
UFC 125 fighter Thiago Silva's drug-testing sample was "inconsistent with human urine," Nevada State Athletic Commission executive director Keith Kizer today confirmed with MMAjunkie.com.
Silva's initial "A" test was flagged, and further testing on the "B" sample confirmed the original conclusion.
Kizer said Silva now essentially is temporarily suspended until an April 7 hearing.
After UFN 24 win, Johny Hendricks (respectfully) wants Diego Sanchez next
Following a UFC Fight Night 24 victory and $55,000 "Knockout of the Night" bonus, Johny Hendricks underwent his customary post-fight shave and now plans to take a few days off before he's back in the gym.
But as he today told MMAjunkie.com Radio (www.mmajunkie.com/radio), he knows whom he wants next.
"The guy I've been looking at and we've been talking about – and the guy is really tough and been around the block for a while and fought some of the toughest guys in the [welterweight and lightweight] classes – is Diego Sanchez," he said.
In a bout relegated to the untelevised preliminary card, Hendricks scored the UFC Fight Night 24's only knockout. He floored youngster T.J. Waldburger with a straight punch and then followed him to the mat with some fight-ending followup shots.
Once he left Seattle's KeyArena, Hendricks (10-1 MMA, 5-1 UFC), who successfully rebounded from his first career loss with the win, said he began thinking about Sanchez (23-4 MMA, 12-4 UFC).
"He's a tough fighter," Hendricks said. "He comes out there, he brings it every fight, and he's gone toe to toe with some of the best fighters at 170 and 155. Who better to go out there and compete against than him?"
So does he have a beef with the Team Jackson fighter, or is this a respectful call-out?
"It's respectful," he said. "Diego Sanchez is a nice guy. It's just that I know where I want to be, and he's right there where I want to be. He's a great fighter."
Hendricks wants to make a summer return. He thinks a fight with Sanchez, who recently earned a hotly contested split-decision victory over Martin Kampmann at UFC on Versus 3, would make a perfect addition to a July 2 UFC 132 card in Las Vegas. His Team Takedown teammate Shane Roller is on the card (and fighting Melvin Guillard), and he'd love for them to go through a fight camp together.
Additionally, he thinks he's better prepared for someone of Sanchez's caliber. Although a two-time NCAA Division I national wrestling champion and four-time All-American, he's always displayed solid striking. In fact, six of his 10 career wins now have come via knockout.
But after his December decision loss to Rick Story, he fixed a glitch in his style.
"I got away from setting my feet when I threw my punches," he said. "I got into the mode where I didn't want to try to get hit. And that was my whole goal in the (Story) fight. But I got back to, 'Hey, they're going to hit me, but I'm going to try to hit them back that much harder.'"
That willingness to stay in the pocket paid off against Waldburger, who was floored with a punch that Hendricks often drills.
"I actually do that in training where you post the head and throw that straight right down the middle because you sort of blind them, and they can't see the punch coming," he said. "That's when you knock people. It's not how hard you hit. It's (landing) the punch they don't see coming."
UFC Fight Night 24 officially draws record 13,741 attendance, $1.2 million gate
Although the attendance figured dipped a bit, UFC Fight Night 24 set an event-series record in that category, as well in live gate.
UFC officials initially announced estimated totals of 14,212 attendees and a $1,182,850 gate.
According to figures MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) obtained from the the Washington State Department of Licensing, the gate figure remained the same, though the official attendance came in a bit lower at 13,741.
UFC Fight Night 24 took place this past Saturday, March 26, at Seattle's KeyArena. The night's main card aired on Spike TV, and five preliminary-card fights streamed for free on Facebook. Phil Davis defeated Antonio Rogerio Nogueira in the headliner, and Anthony Johnson topped Dan Hardy in the co-headliner.
Of the 13,741 attendees, only 791 (5.8 percent) received complimentary tickets, and the average paid ticket price was $91.34. Given the strong ticket demand for a mid-level UFC card (officials initially configured the arena for 8,000 attendees but had to open additional seating sections to meet demand), a second trip to Washington is likely.
The UFC Fight Night 24 figures broke records set by UFC Fight Night 20 ($753,962 gate) and UFC Fight Night 18 (10,267 attendance).
The top 10 attendance marks in UFC Fight Night history, as compiled by MMAjunkie.com, include:
1."UFC Fight Night 24: Davis vs. Nogueira" – 13,741 attendance ($1,182,850 live gate)
2."UFC Fight Night 18: Condit vs. Kampmann" – 10,267 ($626,077)
3."UFC Fight Night 19: Diaz vs. Guillard" – 9,490 ($577,997)
4."UFC Fight Night 15: Diaz vs. Neer" – 9,103 ($700,00)
5."UFC Fight Night 16: UFC Fights for the Troops" – 8,500 (n/a)*6."UFC Fight Night 20: Maynard vs. Diaz" – 8,078 ($753,962)
7."UFC Fight Night 22: Marquardt vs. Palhares" – 7,724 ($595,500)
8."UFC Fight Night 21: Florian vs. Gomi" – 7,700 ($590,685)
9."UFC Fight Night 17: Lauzon vs. Stephens" – 7,596 ($304,000)
10."UFC Fight Night 13: Florian vs. Lauzon" – 6,742 ($753,429)
UFC's Brock Lesnar returning to the WWE? "Folks, it ain't happening very soon"
Despite persistent rumors that Brock Lesnar and the UFC may be organizing his return to the WWE, the former UFC champ said it's unlikely to happen anytime soon, if at all.
Lesnar, who's on a media tour ahead of Wednesday's debut of "The Ultimate Fighter 13," today appeared on ESPN's "SportsCenter" and shot down the possibility.
Lesnar said he's perfectly content with his current situation.
"This is my home," said Lesnar, who coaches opposite fellow contender Junior Dos Santos on "TUF 13," which airs on Spike TV at 9 p.m. ET/PT. "The octagon is where I feel it's meant to be. ... At the end of the day, I'm happy at doing what I'm doing, and that's being an ultimate fighter."
Since joining the UFC in early 2008, Lesnar's name has appeared with a handful of WWE rumors. Some have suggested a one-night return while others have talked about a full-time move to his former employer, where Lesnar was one of the pro-wrestling organization's biggest stars from 2002 to 2004. Many have suggested that Lesnar put the request into UFC officials himself.
UFC president Dana White, though, consistently has shot down the possibility.
"Not going to happen," White told MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) in December. "He can't leave the UFC. He's under contract."
Lesnar has taken a similar stance. He today told "SportsCenter" host Hannah Storm he can't say he'll never make a return, but his UFC job takes priority.
"I should never say never," the 33-year-old said. "When my stint in the UFC is over, it's a possibility. But folks, it ain't happening very soon. That's for sure."
He said his focus remains on a June 11 No. 1 contender's bout at UFC 131 and a possible shot to reclaim his title from Cain Velasquez.
"At this moment in time, I've got Junior Dos Santos in front of me, and then I'm looking at the title shot against Cain," he said. "But Junios Dos Santos, look out; here I come."
Cordeiro: Kings MMA Doors Open to ‘Shogun’
Former Chute Boxe Academy coach Rafael Cordeiro found Mauricio “Shogun” Rua’s performance against Jon Jones in the UFC 128 main event on March 19 in Newark, N.J. deeply unsettling. Rua, a longtime Cordeiro pupil, succumbed to a third-round technical knockout against Jones, as he surrendered the UFC light heavyweight crown in a woefully one-sided affair.
The doors to Cordeiro’s Kings MMA academy in Huntington Beach, Calif., remain open to Rua, who now owns a 3-3 mark inside the Octagon.
“It just depends on him,” Cordeiro (Pictured) told Sherdog.com. “It would be very easy to say that Shogun coming to train at my gym would be the solution to his problems. I think it would be the first step to solving things. I think the first step to solving your problems is for you to seek good training. That’s not to say he hasn’t done that, because he has a good team, but I’ve seen some weaknesses in Shogun that I had not seen before.”
Jones wiped out Rua, standing and on the ground, and emerged from the bout virtually unscathed. Never before had the 2005 Pride Fighting Championships middleweight grand prix winner been so soundly defeated. For Cordeiro, it was particularly tough to stomach.
“I was very sad on one hand, and it was a very sad night for me because this is a guy I graduated from white belt to black belt. I have a lot of affection for him,” Cordeiro said. “Every time I saw him coming to the ring, whether I was there or not, I had a reason to be proud because it was a black belt of mine who was in there.
“Even though we didn’t train together, his defeat was a very big revelation to me,” he added. “It’s hard to see your student going through a situation so complicated in the ring. Nobody until then had put Shogun [in a situation like that].”
Widely regarded as one of the top light heavyweights of all-time, Rua entered the cage against Jones on the heels of his third reconstructive knee surgery since 2007. The 29-year-old Brazilian had not fought in almost a year. Cordeiro believes he has an ideal team in place to assist in Rua’s recovery.
“My gym is open to all the guys,” he said. “When I opened this gym, it was always my intention to bring together good things and new. I want to add value to these fighters, and, so far, nothing has changed.
“It would be very easy to say to you today that I have the cure for Shogun’s problems,” Cordeiro added. “The most important thing for me is that he knows that there is a group of competent people to help him here. Again, that’s not to say he didn’t have competent people at his side [leading up to the Jones fight]. I think going forward there are some things that happened that showed he needed some special people to work with him.”
Report: 205-Pound Tournament Semifinals Booked for Bellator 42
Richard Hale will reportedly take on D.J. Linderman, while Tim Carpenter will meet Christian M'Pumbu in the semifinals of Bellator Fighting Championships’ first-ever light heavyweight tournament.
Hale (Pictured) reported the pairings to MMAJunkie.com on Monday, along with the fact that both semifinals will take place April 23 at Bellator 42. The event airs live on MTV2 from the Lucky Star Casino in Concho, Okla.
The winners of the 205-pound matchups will square off later in Bellator’s ongoing fourth season for $100,000 in total pay and the mantle of inaugural Bellator light heavyweight titleholder.
All four competitors advanced to the semifinals with wins at last Saturday’s Bellator 38 at Harrah’s Tunica Hotel and Casino in Tunica, Miss.
Hale, 25, made the biggest splash in his Bellator debut with a stunning inverted triangle-choking of previously unbeaten Nik Fekete. On Monday afternoon, an official YouTube video of the technical submission had been viewed over 80,000 times.
Linderman also caused an upset in his first outing at 205 pounds, stopping tournament favorite Raphael Davis on third-round punches. The 27-year-old former SportFight heavyweight champ improved to 9-1 with his fourth consecutive victory.
Carpenter, a 30-year-old product of Philadelphia’s Balance Studios, upped his unbeaten record to 7-0 with a split decision over Daniel Gracie. It was Carpenter’s second win under the Bellator banner, his first coming last October against former International Fight League standout Jamal Patterson.
M’Pumbu punched out Chris Davis in the third round of their hard-fought quarterfinal scrap. It was the first fight for 33-year-old “Tonton” since his semifinal elimination from Deep’s light heavyweight grand prix in April 2010.
Jackson: Evans Said Jones Could Join Team
Rashad Evans has suggested trainer Greg Jackson is to blame for letting Jon Jones join their camp and set up a teammate-versus-teammate matchup, but Jackson (Pictured) has a different take.
“Rashad can say maybe he was uncomfortable with it, but when I asked him if [Jones] could come on the team, he said yes,” Jackson explained recently on the Sherdog Radio Network’s “Beatdown” show. “Everybody said yes. There’s a ton of people I’ve turned away because [team members] have said, ‘I’m not really comfortable with that person. I don’t want you to do it.’ I’ve got a list of those guys too. They’re very good fighters, and I’m not going to name names that I’ve had to turn away for that very reason. Everybody was all right with [Jones], and now they’re not.”
Jackson pointed out that Jones is one among many fighters who have been allowed to join the Jackson’s MMA team. Evans is another.
“I want talented people around talented people,” Jackson said. “Remember, these guys were really cool with each other until like a couple of weeks ago and then it all kind of went downhill because I guess Jon said something that hurt Rashad’s feelings and then it just kind of, I don’t know, it went out of control from there.”
Jones said he would be willing to fight Evans, and now Evans has said he’s willing to fight Jones, who won the UFC light heavyweight title March 19 from Mauricio “Shogun” Rua. Jackson will not be watching.
“If they choose to fight each other, it’s not like I’m their dad or I own them or anything like that,” he said. “If they’re making those choices, of course I’m disappointed, but if it’s what everybody wants, then I’m just going to stay out of it.”
One outcome Jackson wants to avoid is the feeling among his fighters that they should train with each other knowing they could meet one day in the cage.
“That’s part of the reason why we don’t want to fight each other,” he said. “That’s what people will never understand. Business people will never understand. … You want to keep that vibe of not having that around because everyone’s going to hold on to their own techniques and no one’s really going to grow. Why train with somebody in the first place if they’re not going to be showing you stuff, not helping you out?”